Constructive Disobedience

Join us for an evening of constructive disobedience at the G20. Starts 19:30 on 7 July, 2017 at the Audimax lecture hall on the University of Hamburg campus. No RSVP necessary.

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Constructive Disobedience
“To be progressive and constructive, disobedience must be accompanied by counter-proposals fully outlining alternative policies to the ones that we disobey.”—Srećko Horvat

I’m flying to Hamburg this week to join Srećko Horvat, Renata Avila, and friends from DiEM25 and beyond for an evening of constructive disobedience on Friday.

Srećko wrote a great piece for Al Jazeera titled “Are protests enough to bring down the G20?” in which he explains why we’re going, what’s at stake, what we’re doing, and what we hope to achieve. I highly recommend that you read it.

In the article, Srećko posits that the G20 is going to be “the most important international political event of the year”. Among the reasons: the establishment will use it as an opportunity to further their attempts to erode our rights and widen their remit for mass surveillance.

[A]fter the terrorist attacks in London, British Prime Minister Theresa May called for global internet regulations and Germany's Angela Merkel and France's Emanuel Macron soon followed her lead. The three "leaders of the free world", or also known as MMM, obviously want to use the G20 to push for more restrictions on internet freedom.

And we’ll to be there to push back.

As Yanis says, “gently, compassionately, but firmly.”

In other words, constructively.

Or, as Srećko puts it:

Even if protests or a mass uprising are able to overthrow a political system that is imposing austerity and wars, the real question is what do you do the day after? How do you run the economy and organise daily life? Our action at the G20, therefore, should not be only about disobedience. It should also be about proposing a viable alternative for the day after … To be progressive and constructive, disobedience must be accompanied by counter-proposals fully outlining alternative policies to the ones that we disobey.

(By the way, did I mention I love the guy? Seriously – and on a personal note – Srećko is one of the loveliest people I’ve met. Not only genuinely committed to making the world a fairer, kinder, and more beautiful place but just a down-to-earth, lovely person. I feel you’re lucky if you get to know one or two such people in your life and I feel especially fortunate to have met more than my fair share in the last few years who – like Srećko and Renata – I feel honoured to call my friends. Right, wipe away that solitary tear and let’s carry on… Now, where were we?)

Srećko mentions in his article that the three main battlefields for G20 will be “climate change, internet freedom, and arms trade.” The second is where Renata and I come in with our Internet of People initiative at DiEM25:

Given that the internet is already a panopticon of surveillance capitalism, owned and controlled by an oligarchy of Silicon Valley corporations, and given the ongoing threat against our digital civil liberties in the name of fighting terrorism, our "constructive" proposal should be a blueprint for the Internet of the People based on protecting human rights and the "digital commons".

If you can make it to Hamburg this week, come join us at 19:30 CET on July 7th at the lovely Audimax lecture hall at the University of Hamburg (no RSVP necessary, it’s the largest lecture hall in Hamburg and can seat 1,674).

Even if you can’t make it, there will be a livestream announced before the event and please do tell your friends, make some noise about the event online, and help spread some constructive disobedience in your own neighbourhoods.